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No. 5 Virginia women’s soccer opens season with 5-0 win over Nevada

The Cavaliers’ deep roster highlighted their first victory at Klöckner this season

<p>Senior forward Brianna Jablonowski celebrates one of the Cavaliers' five goals Thursday night.</p>

Senior forward Brianna Jablonowski celebrates one of the Cavaliers' five goals Thursday night.

No. 5 Virginia women’s soccer lived up to preseason expectations with a 5-0 win over Nevada. The Cavaliers (1-0, 0-0 ACC) dominated possession over the Wolfpack (0-1, 0-0 MW) from kickoff till the final whistle, tallying 17 shots on goal and 14 corners. Freshman forward Allie Ross, who came on as a substitute, led the way with two goals and one assist. 

Early in the first half, Virginia failed to connect on prime goal opportunities. In the fourth minute, a Cavalier corner gave senior forward Sarah Brunner a shot in the box that was wide right. In the 13th minute, sophomore midfielder Jill Flammia intercepted a pass just outside the box and made a run, only to have her shot saved by Nevada’s redshirt senior goalkeeper Emily McCue.

Virginia’s midfield and defense allowed for more of these opportunities. Along with Flammia, senior defender Samar Guidry frustrated Nevada’s forwards. The Wolfpack rarely saw the ball leave their half. 

In the 19th minute, Ross attempted to handle a pass before Nevada’s sophomore defender Abagail Souza fouled her inside the box for a penalty. In a chance to collect her first collegiate goal, Ross buried a shot into the bottom left-hand side. The goal came less than two minutes after she checked into the game.  

Despite Flammia — ranked 77th in the nation by Top Drawer Soccer — coming off the field in the 38th minute, Virginia maintained dominant possession. A 39th-minute corner kick took multiple deflections, leaving Ross with a shot only feet away from the left post for her second score of the night.

A couple of crosses in the 45th minute highlighted Nevada’s best offense of the half. The Wolfpack entered the second half with zero shots and zero corners, while the Cavaliers tallied 12 shots, six shots on goal, and eight corners. 

In the second half, Virginia experimented with their top offensive pieces. Sophomore forward Maggie Cagle — Virginia’s 2022 leader in assists with 12 — transitioned from left wing to right wing, sparking several opportunities on the rails of the field. Flammia, who controlled the center of the field in the first half, transitioned to right midfield in the second half. 

The Cavaliers did not let up in the 46th minute and beyond. After several deflections off of a corner kick, sophomore forward Meredith McDermott opened the floodgates with a goal just over McCue in the 53rd minute. 

Virginia’s defense continued to frustrate Nevada in the second half; the Wolfpack saw their first corner kick in the 63rd minute and their first and only shot on goal in the 86th minute. The shot was well outside the box and fell right into the hands of graduate student goalkeeper Cayla White. 

The trouncing continued with a 70th-minute fast break up the right side of the box from Ross, who found McDermott for her second goal of the night. Less than six minutes later, senior forward Brianna Jablonowski found enough height on her shot to pop the ball over McCue, making the score a difference of five.

Despite the commanding victory, senior defender Laney Rouse went down in the 66th minute with an apparent ankle injury. The starter played a major role in keeping the ball out of the Cavaliers’ half, maintaining possession when the ball came her way. 

With a deep roster filled with veterans and young stars, Virginia is poised to make the most of their season-opening homestand, which will continue with a matchup against Radford Sunday at 6 pm.